Philippines Best National Costume Awards at the Miss Universe Pageant

The Philippines had won its second “Best in National Costume” in 25 years. This was after  host Steve Harvey announced the winner of the award while a photo of Gazini in national costume was flashed on screen during the live broadcast during the Miss Universe 2019 pageant held in Atlanta last December 8, 2019 and December 9, 2019 lcoal time in Manila.

Ms Grazini Granados of the Philippines

Mr. Steve Harvey  said, “Let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter. Ya’ll got to quit doing this to me. I can read. … Now, they are trying to fix it now. See? This is what they did to me back in 2015 – played me short like that. That’s crazy.”

It was Malaysia with who was shown in the live broadcast. This created some confusion, since it was also posted at the twitter account of the Miss Universe organization.


Miss Malaysia Universe 2019 costume

This was later clarified after the pageant when netizens from Malaysia, Philippines complained.

Best In National Costume


Miss Charlene Gonzales in her national costume

In 1994 Charlene Gonzales won the country’s first award, This was inspired by three tribal groups Bagobo, Manobo and T’boli which was created by Mr. Pitoy Moreno.


Atty. Zorayda Ruth Andam

This was followed in 2001, 2nd place finished by Ms. Zorayda Ruth Andam ( Maria Clara outfit, inspired by Noli Me Tangere) and top 5 finish by Gionna Cabrera ( inspired by Hispanic Filipina floral costume) both created by Colombian designer Alfredo Barraza.


Ms. Gionna Cabrera

The national costume was inspired by the Philippine eagle , the national bird of the country was created by Cary Santiago, who also did the evening gowns of Gazini for Binibining Pilipinas 2019 and the Miss Universe competition.

Note: Photos courtesy of Miss Universe organization and Miss Universe Malaysia 2019

Quick Stroll at Manila North Cemetery (Part 2)

Manila North Cemetery is much cleaner compared a year ago, but there were several road projects within the cemetery that walking around the community is still quite hard.

We visited the middle part of the cemetery along Main street in which major family mausoleums, family plot and famous people were buried.


boat shaped tomb

Manila North Cemetery

There are also interesting flowering plants, trees and butterflies at the Manila North Cemetery


Mausoluem of the Veterans of the Revolution or Panteón de los Veteranos de la Revolución , the Mousoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolución.


Mr. Arcadio Arellano brother of Architect Juan M. Arellano made the design for the monument in 1915 and the Asociacion de los Veteranos de la Revolucion.


historical marker installed in 1993

The neoclassical mausoleum is painted white with massive cubic structure on an elevated square podium. A shallow dome rests on a drum with small openings to allow the circulation of air and  let the natural light to come in.


shallow dome from inside

The facade had a bas relief of Swags, frets with key patterns, and human figures that represent grief to those who died in the causes of the revolution from Spain and United States of America.


bas relief

We met a Manila cityhall employee and told us that there were a lot of Katipuneros and fighters of the revolution were already exhumed and returned to their respective families or provinces.


One of my friend who hails from Makati told us that he is distantly related to one of the  revolutionary. We lighted white candles to pay homage to these veterans. Jewish cemetery and Pascual Poblete tomb is not far from this iconic landmark.


Pascual Poblete

 Pascual H. Poblete (May 17, 1857—February 5, 1921) was a Filipino writer and feminist, remarkably noted as the first translator of Dr. José Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere into the Tagalog language. The bust used to be painted white and overrun with cadena de amor. 


Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery plot is not that big, This site was the allotted in 1925 or 5685 in Jewish calendar. The site is the final resting place of several prominent Jewish nationals and Filipino-Jews.


Arellano family family plot is located just few meters away from the site. The family plot seemed well-kept and clean.


family plot


Isabelo delos Reyes and family plot


Thomasites plot

Thomasite is group of 600 American teachers who traveled from the United States with 365 males and 165 females—left Pier 12 of San Francisco on July 23, 1901, to sail via the Pacific Ocean to South East Asia. The memorial plot was erected in 1917.


Pancho Villa

Francisco Guilledo (August 1, 1901 – July 14, 1925) more popularly known by his boxing screen name Pancho Villa. He fought 103 boxing round and winning 89 and 22 knock outs in his boxing career.

Pancho Villa is the first Asian to win the World Flyweight Championship in 1923.  His sudden death at only twenty-three from complications following a tooth extraction.


Tuazon family mausoleum and tomb

This is one of the oddest family mausoleum within the Manila North Cemetery. This become one of the tourist attractions. The family tomb is located near Poe family mausoleum.


sphinx guardian

This is the grandest Egyptian style tomb. There are similar but on less grand scale in Manila Chinese Cemetery, La Loma Catholic Cemetery and Manila Memorial Park.

We continued the quest within the cemetery and visited some graveside of distant relatives, friends and neighbors. Some of which were already exhumed several years ago.

Amelie Hotel : Botique Hotel located at Manila’s Bohemian District

1667 Jorge Bocobo Street, Malate , Manila-Philippines 

Galleon Bar

Amelie Hotel is a 70- room boutique hotel which is located at  Jorge Bocobo street near Pedro Gil ( formerly Herran street ) near University of the Philippines– Manila ,  Robinson’s Place- Midtown Plaza, Philippine Women’s University , Philippine Christian University, Adamson University , United Nations, World Health Organization ,  Rizal Park , Intramuros and within one ride away from the historic Paco and Chinatown district of Manila. All these historical places are within 3 to 4 kilometers away from the hotel.

 photo courtesy of : University of the Philippines archives

Historic Street

Dr. Jorge Bocobo  (1886-1965) was a renowned Philippine scholar, lawyer, journalist, leader, and educator. He was the fifth president of the University of the Philippines  from 1934-1939. Known to be moralist and disciplinarian, he was influential in the development of education in the Philippines. He was the one  who translated Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo into English, was born in Gerona, Tarlac.

roof deck floor can accommodate between 70 to 150 people an an ideal place to host parties, debuts, valentine’s day , new year  parties and cocktails

According to one of the manager, The site of the present hotel used to be site of an old residential home , This is the first project of Ruygroup Hotel Corporation which is being built on land formerly occupied by the Uy ancestral home with art deco architecture . The hotel’s name was from the owner ‘s  grand-daughter named ” Amelie ” .

reception area with Mr. Dandi A. Galvez ( marketing and communication manager)


Galleon Restaurant– named after the famed (Manila Galleon) trade that fostered goods and cultural exchanges between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico  by Mario’s Kitchen offers international cuisine sure to satisfy a wide range of palates .

linear art deco map

Galleon’s restaurant and bar serves , unique , familiar and fusion dishes . The restaurant provides all day , dining , room service and catering for functions and special occasions.

center piece leaf arrangement

In addition to spacious rooms, computer kiosks are available in the lobby as well as printing and facsimile services. There is a roof deck gym is also open to  guests.

Amelie Hotel Manila’s location in Malate makes it the perfect base for exploring the vibrant city of Manila and its neighboring cities. We are located just 13km from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and 7km from the Domestic Airport (NAIA Terminal 4).  The business districts of Makati and Bonifacio Global City are 12km away.

Deluxe 1

There are 37 Deluxe rooms  with a total area of 26 square meters . The room can accommodate  between 1 to 2 person.

Deluxe 2

DELUXE-2 rooms are suitable for families, friends or colleagues traveling together. The room accommodate between 2 to 4 persons with 33 square meters . There are 24 rooms available  . While Executive rooms can accommodate between 2 to 3 people with 9 rooms with 31 square meters .

group photo

We are quite fortunate to get invited by the resident PR and got a chance to meet the owners and staffs of the hotel.

Note: The author would like to ” Thank” Mr. Mark Abellon – brand manager , Ms. Mars Callo and the PR team for the invitation extended.

Main +63 (2) 875 7888 | Fax +63 (2) 995 3972

Address: 1667 J. Bocobo St. Malate, Manila 1004 PH


The Women of Rizal exhibit

SM North EDSA – The Block, Quezon City

SM Super malls  in cooperation with Yuchengco Museum7 Castle CorporationNational Commission for the Culture and the Arts, Goethe Institut and the descendants of Dr. Jose P. Rizal  opened a  week- long exhibit which is  will be held in SM North EDSA and SM  Biñan in Laguna . The event is open to the public during mall hours.

Crowd during the opening

The author was fortunate to be invited and as  Rizal’s  150th birthday celebration draws to a close , The exhibit  will highlight the significant events in Rizal’s life and our country’s history . The exhibit was segmented into 4 themes  Rizal in Europe , The Women of Rizal , The Rizal family ancestry and descendants ,  The Rizal monument in Luneta   . There are also several huge building replica’s  of various places, buildings, monuments that were visited by Dr. Jose Rizal during his various trip abroad.

replica of the buildings in France as viewed from the balcony

These  replica’s were strategically placed  so that visitors in the exhibition site can have the feeling and  have an opportunity to pose for a souvenir shot at the places that were visited by Rizal.

replica of Arch di Triomphe

Visitors will be  able to follow Rizal’s footsteps in Europe with replicas of the places he lived and visited.  These included the Blaue Stern Hotel in Czechoslovakia where Rizal met visited in 1887 to meet Professor  Ferdinand Blumentritt in 1887.

replica of St. Stephen Cathedral in Austria

St.Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria where he prayed ; the University of Eye Clinic in Heidelberg where he completed his ophthalmologist studies; the Rizal monument in the Avenida de Filipinas, Madrid, Spain and the view of Rizal’s hotel room and Arch di Triomphe in France.

Ferdinand Blumentritt sketch by Juan Luna

There will also be storytelling sessions called “Mga Kuwento ni Pepe,” were to be held at SM City Calamba and SM City North EDSA. The roving exhibit aims to provide more awareness to the public.

The exhibit features portraits of women who have been part of our National Hero’s life –his mother Teodora Alonso y Realonda , as well as the women he has been romantically linked with beginning with Ms. Segunda Katigbak to his great love Ms. Leonor Rivera, and  Josephine Bracken.

Ms. Leonor Rivera- Kipping ( August 11, 1967 to August 28, 1893 )

She is considered as the childhood sweetheart . He romantic links to Dr. Rizal is said to have lasted 8 years. She was immortalized  as the character Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere.

Her original hometown  is  in Camiling , Tarlac  and the daughter of Antonio Rivera and Silvestra Bauzon.  She studied in La Concordia College.

Ms. Rivera was later married a British engineer,  Mr. Henry Kipping . She died in August 28, 1893 from complications of childbirth .

These are  tarpaulin print  reproduction of oil on canvas portraits painted by renowned priest-artist Fr. Armand Tangi of the Society of Saint Paul for the Yuchengco Museum’s Loves of Rizal Exhibition in 2011.

family tree linage of Jose Rizal

The exhibit also gives a rare glimpse of Rizal’s other women, descendants of his brother Paciano and sisters Saturnina, Narcisa, Olympia, Lucia, Maria, and Soledad in beautiful black and white portraits by photographer Mr. Raymund Isaac.

Mr. Jose Arguelles

These are accomplished women and men (Soledad’s grandson Jose L. Arguelles, 94, is also included) who would have made their ancestor proud.

Lulu Hidalgo Tinio is President and Chairman of Saturnina Estate Development Corporation; Minney Reyes is a Managing Partner of Suarez and Reyes Law Offices; Tess Herbosa is the Chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Mia Sy-Quia Faustmann manages 7 Castles, a jewelry export business; and Barbara Gonzalez, once headed an advertising agency and now is also in the jewelry business.

The lone gentleman, Tito Pempot, as he is called, is equally distinguished. He was President of IBM Philippines, President of BenLife Insurance, and Treasurer and Board Member of National Teacher’s College.

Those who married successful men also found their voice. Concepcion Arguelles Feria or Tita Chit, wife to former Supreme Court Justice Jose Feria, is an active member of many religious societies. Marlene Lopez Jacinto, widow of steel businessman Fernando Jacinto, Jr., is an artist, graphic designer, and manages the family business.

Ms. Ana Maria Belen Bantug -Tan and Ms. Narcisa Consunji-Torres

Great granddaughters of Narcissa Rizal -(1852-1939), Mrs. Ana Maria Belen Bantug-Tan is the mother of former ABS-CBN channel 2 new reporter and current PTV channel 4  news anchor Mr. Robert Bantug- Tan.

Ms. Marilu – Bautista and Ms. Rise Fillart-Scott

Great granddaughters of  Olympia Rizal

Dr. Jose P. Rizal y Realonda  will be happy to know that many of his descendants have played an active role in nation building thru their personal advocacies . Ms. Ester Lopez Azurin is active in public service as President of Kaanak, a group of descendants of Fil-Am warriors and a barangay kagawad. Rose Filart- Scott is a psychotherapist and counselor and training consultant for In Touch Community Services. Ms. Trixie Grau is a Board Member of Binhi English Literacy Foundation, an NGO that aims to provide literacy kits to children in marginalized areas. ‘Tess Herbosa’s advocacy is the protection of children against child abuse.

I just wonder “why ” Ms. Gemma Cruz- Araneta was not included in the roster of the descendants of Rizal ? After all she also brought honors to the country by winning the prestigious Miss International pageant in 1964 . Maybe this exhibit wants to focus on the other descendants of the Rizal clan.

Tales of 1971 Piso Coin

A good feature story aired last sunday by Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho at GMA channel 7 featured some FB group buying sites and some coin collectors looking for the rare 1971 1 peso coin.

This trigger some online debates and discussion about this rare coin in circulation.  The 1970’s coins were in general use up until the early 1990’s before the coins were demonetized by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas along with the Ang Bagong Lipunan bills. They are used for payments in jeepney fares and loose change in small sari-sari stores.

Started collecting these types of coins whenever i had a chance to see them, most are in poor condition and an aunt even gave me over a dozen pieces of the 1972 1 peso coin as some sort of Christmas gift. ( also in circulated condition )

The coins are larger compared to the flora and fauna series issued by BSP in the 1980’s and a smaller coin series ( flora and fauna series 1994)  which is very unpopular among collectors and masses since they are quite small.

There were some rumors way back in the late 1990’s that some of the 1970’s  Marcos era coins are worth something and they have some gold content. The uncirculated ones and the ones that were polished with modern metal polish would have a yellowish color glow that makes people believed that it had gold or had white gold content. Some gullible people began hoarding them. People believed in the story, since there are some sidewalk vendors making them as rings or accessories, soaking them in calamansi solution. Some of them are still around Recto, Divisoria and provinces until now peddling items made from these coins.  I should have taken some photos for record purposes.

Metallic Content

“All the coins issued by then Central Bank of the Philippines and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas do not contain precious metals particularly, silver and gold. Moreover, the value of the metallic contents of the BSP coins is determined by world market prices of metals.” – Page 5, Item #20, Banknotes and Coins March 2015.

At the height of the frenzy, Some people began spreading rumors in some buy and sell sites that each coin can be bought around Php 100 each regardless of the condition to as much as Php 1,000 each or even more !

NOLI Me Tangere Obverse

Another rumor that circulated for decades was the rare 1971 1 peso series with a Noli Me Tangere obverse and such coins are worth at least Php 200 to 1 million pesos . I have seen a couple of these coins being sold before in Recto at a local coin dealer way back in 1999 . I always do some researches later to found out that there are some private individuals and unscrupulous coin dealers or medal makers that would counter stamp or re-strike these coins to sell maybe to unsuspecting local or foreign collectors who would collect these kinds of novelty items, some say fantasy issue. Banking on the so called rarity, exclusiveness of the issuance.

This is not a rare case for coins but for stamps and other items that are collectible.   P.D No. 247  and BSP Circular No 61

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, Proclamation No. 1104 dated January 17, 1973, and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, and in order to effect the desired changes and reforms in the social, economic and political structure of our society, do hereby order and decree:

1. That it shall be unlawful for any person to willfully deface, mutilate, tear, burn or destroy, in any manner whatsoever, currency notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines; and

2. That any person who shall violate this Decree shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than twenty thousand pesos and/or by imprisonment of not more than five years.

Reason : Sales Gimmick or Failure to Issue on Time ?

The law created which does not have a fang. I have seen some banknotes overprinted with the Pope Francis visit.  Which is not an official souvenir item issued by the BSP ( I think some private individual issued these so-called fantasy or  counter-stamping issues for remembrance of the occasion and failure of BSP and even Post Office to issue sufficient number of stamps and coins during the visit of Pope Francis in 2015) or delayed issuance?

The BSP flawed online registration drew some negative comments especially among old time collectors which are not tech savy and does not have any email accounts. Worst case scenario is that it took several months before the coins from BSP were sold to en-mass. Even until 2017( two years after the Pope Francis visit) and with a new BSP head. Some of those who ordered via email still have to receive the coins.

For stamps, People had to wait for long lines at the Manila Central Post office for long hours and the delivery for the Pope Francis stamps and souvenir sheet was even delayed or several hours during the first day. The author is one of the several hundreds or even thousands of people who lined -up just to purchase the commemorative stamps.  Taking a leave of absence for two days and loss of productive time.

Personal Letter to BSP Governor Amando Tetangco

I personally wrote a letter address to the former BSP governor Amando Tetangco way back in 2015 for some of the old members who cannot order online – the limited Pope Francis coins ( we only ordered just few coins for our old members from the provinces and those who do not have access to internet ) ONLY to be rejected few months later, after BSP staffs have assured us of having the priority order. Even personally going to the office of the governor of the BSP in Manila. Sadly two died without even seeing the commemorative coin.

I would have shrug off the story aired by KMJS last sunday. I think it was more of an information dissemination to create a decent rating out of ONE in a Million or Treasure Hunting stories which surely will create some noise. Got several emails and inquiries in this blog about the coin.

Wrote this short article to inform people that there is no such truth about the rare 1971 issuance for those who wanted to know the number of coins that were made.

Technical Description 

Obverse : Shield of the Republic of the Philippines, Lettering:

Translation: Republic of the Philippines

Central Bank of the Philippines : 1972

Reverse : Head of Jose Rizal left 

Lettering: P I S O 1 JOSE RIZAL

Translation: 1 Piso Jose Rizal



Quantities ( Number of Coins Made or Minted)

1972 -121,821,000

1974- 10,000 -proof set

1974- 45,631,000